Farmer Focus: Pigeons arrive en masse to check out linseed

What a refreshing few weeks it has been.

I’ve spent time checking the winter crops which are looking well, rather than spending time desperately looking for somewhere to drill or checking bags of seed in the shed for vermin damage, which has been the case in January for the past couple of years.

Unfortunately, there will be a small amount of re-drilling to do this spring on a couple of hectares where 2019 dressed seed has suffered from low germination.

See also: Phacelia and oil radish prove most effective cover crop in veg trial

About the author

Matt Redman
Farmer Focus writer
Matt Redman farms 370ha just north of Cambridge and operates a contracting business specialising in spraying and direct drilling. He also grows cereals on a small area of tenancy land and was Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year in 2014.
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Strangely, one part of the field is significantly better than the rest, and you can see to a line where the next bag went into the drill.

The rest of the winter wheat, winter linseed and winter beans look good, with the later-drilled wheats catching up well, thanks to the mild weather.

We haven’t had anywhere near as much rain as last year, but it is still pleasing to see no standing water on fields that were mole-drained.

Pigeons have now started arriving in their hundreds to see the linseed, so we are going to have to up our game to keep them away.

As we near the end of January it seems like the year is progressing rather quickly.

The job list seems to be growing, rather than shrinking, with those ‘we’ll do that when we are quiet’ sort of jobs, and I seem to have a mountain of office work still to claw my way through.

It was a shame Lamma had to be postponed. I’m sure many people were looking forward to kicking off the year in a more normal way and catching up with others.

Luckily, February is looking fairly busy for events to get back into the swing of things.

Spring work won’t be far around the corner and I’m very much looking forward to a slightly less busy spring with more time to focus on the finer detail, and some longer, warmer spring days.

There is certainly some trepidation about farming in the next few years, and the challenges that will come, but a warm, sunny spring day when things are going well will go a long way to ease those concerns – at least temporarily.

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